WHAT IS THE KING’S RESPONSE TO A WARNING?
This is a key clip because the Chola king’s associates clearly warn him, in advance, that his plan to give the lands of a place called Ponnivala to nine loyal farmer brothers may bring trouble. But, as we will later see, the king proceeds to execute his plan anyway. The king’s associates tell him that the area is already occupied by a group of artisans and that they may object to losing control of the lands they are currently using for their own sustenance and livelihood. Of course these “friends” of the king are right. Why would they welcome newcomers whose clear objective is to take over their own territory (which was likely communally managed)? The Chola king has an interesting response. He orders an assistant to call all the resident artisans to a meeting at his palace. But he also orders all the 56 powerful families in the area to attend. It is not quite clear who these powerful families are or where they really come from. But they are likely all (or at least mostly) farming households located in places closer to his palace, since we have been led to believe (assume) that there was no plough-based farming within the Ponnivala area itself at this time. What kind of meeting can this be? Surely the Ponnivala artisans will feel pressured and also outnumbered by these many strangers that the king has called to a meeting with them, a meeting in a distant palace that will seem strange and uncomfortable to them.
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